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The Dow Jones today is flat after North Korea tested another missile, flaunting the latest UN sanctions. A terrorist attack on the London subway yesterday is also a worrying sign of rising instability. Here are three ways to keep your money safe when global instability threatens stock market gains…
Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Previous Close||Point Change||Percentage Change|
Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus Friday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- North Korea fired yet another ballistic missile over Hokkaido, a northern Japanese island, on Friday morning. This is the second time Kim Jong Un's regime fired a missile over Japan in the last month. It is also the country's first missile test since the United Nations passed new sanctions on the communist nation earlier this week. Once again, the UN Security Council will meet in an emergency session to try to determine how they can resolve increasing tension on the Korean Peninsula.
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- There is a "quadruple witching hour" today in the stock markets. Stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures all expire at the same time, which could raise volatility. In addition, Hurricane Harvey could weigh down the August retail report, due out later toda,y and economists are anticipating weaker auto sales and slower industrial production than previous reports.
- Meanwhile, an explosion on a London train is being treated as a terrorist attack. The explosion injured at least 22 people. London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged residents to remain calm and stated that the city would not give into terror. U.S. President Donald Trump called the attackers "sick and demented people" in a Tweet issued this morning.
- The sell-off in cryptocurrencies continues to accelerate, and many naysayers are saying that the bubble for Bitcoin and other coins is popping. The global cryptocurrency market capitalization fell to $106.4 billion on Friday. Prices are plunging across the board after China announced plans to halt initial coin offerings, halt over-the-counter trading, and force the shutdown of Bitcoin exchanges across the country. For more on why the cryptocurrency market is in a tailspin, read our latest daily insight, right here.
Will Sanctions on North Korea Work?
- Crude oil prices were on the rise this morning as traders weighed North Korea's latest missile launch. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.6%, while Brent crude also added 0.6%. Both are on pace for their largest weekly gains in two months, and WTI is trading over $50 a barrel for the first time since July. Oil prices have been ticking higher thanks to several forecasts for greater demand over the next year and news that OPEC's oil production cap is finally reducing output.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: EFX, SFTBF, ORCL
- Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) isn't making any friends on Capitol Hill, and one of the biggest populists in the Senate is taking direct aim at the credit-reporting firm. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced a new bill with 11 Democratic sponsors that would give Americans the right to freeze their credit reports for free. The bill comes a week after the company got around to announcing a massive breach affecting 143 million Americans and their private information, including social security numbers, birth dates, and many other attributes required to obtain credit.
- Japanese investment firm SoftBank Corp. (OTC: SFTBF) is willing to invest in the top unicorn in the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal, the investment bank is prepared to pony up as much as $10 billion to invest in a stake in ride-sharing giant Uber. The firm would secure roughly 17% to 22% of the firm in the process and do so at a very steep discount to previous investment rounds. The investment comes at a time that Uber is attempting to resurrect its reputation after a series of public relations blunders.
- Shares of Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) were off 3.8% in premarket hours after the company issued a weaker-than-expected quarterly forecast after the bell on Thursday. The cloud computing giant did beat earnings expectations. The firm reported earnings per share of $0.62, a figure that topped Wall Street numbers by two cents. Revenue also beat expectations. However, the firm's current quarterly expectations underwhelmed analysts. Oracle continues to face stiff competition in the cloud computing space from Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and others.
- A light earnings calendar features a report from Eros International Plc. (NYSE: EROS).
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
- Empire State Manufacturing Survey at 8:30 a.m.
- Industrial Production at 9:15 a.m.
- Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
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